ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page

Advanced search

Immigration Daily


Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board



Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation


CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network


Chinese Immig. Daily


Connect to us

Make us Homepage



The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of free

Immigration LLC.

< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Dear Editor:

Thank you for providing such a wonderful forum for those of us interested in immigration issues. I look forward each day to reading the letters to the editor, and appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to such a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions. Regardless of one’s stance on many of these issues, there’s no doubting the fact that people feel passionately about immigration issues, and it’s easy to get caught up in the various "discussions" that play themselves out on-line. I consider myself fortunate indeed to live in a country where publicly expressing one’s opinions and beliefs is not something that will bring harm to me or my family members (although it might generate a few scathing remarks in return!).

Regarding various polls that say American citizens believe one thing or another—isn’t the entire argument somewhat faulty? Since when does might make right? At one time or another in our nation’s history we could say that a majority of Americans believed in slavery, or in denying women the right to vote, or in the right of a husband to beat his wife so long as the rod used was no larger than a thumb’s circumference...

I wonder whether the real issue, stripped down, might amount to being a matter of the "haves" of the world feeling somewhat threatened by the "have nots", who in most cases simply want to improve their own life or the lives of their children? Perhaps it’s a concern that some of the "haves" are clinging rather precariously to their own status, and fear that too many "have nots" coming into our country in search of the American Dream just might bring down their own standard of living.

You can dress it up by saying things like "this is the law and they should abide by the law", but I know that if I lived in a country where young children are regularly sold into prostitution or slavery so the remaining family members could live, I would do everything possible to escape such a life of hunger, deprivation, and oppression. I should watch my child die an early death from malnutrition, disease, or the ravages of armed conflict, or worse yet, watch her spirit die gradually over time—for the sake of waiting years and years for the possibility that we might "legally" emigrate to some country where we would have a chance at a decent life? Less dramatically—I know everyone’s not a refugee—if I lived in a country where I could expect to work hard all my life (typical life span being maybe as few as 45 years), and die leaving my children no better (and perhaps even worse) off than when I was born—you bet I would jump at any opportunity to improve my "economic condition" by emigrating, legal or not. Please. Since when is it wrong to want to give yourself and your children a better life? Are we just going to say "too bad, so sad" to those unfortunate enough to have been born into a less-open, less-prosperous nation than ours?

I hear lots of people talking about a "higher law", when debating abortion, the use of human embryos in research, etc.—playing the morality card to justify breaking the law. Well, what about all those children already in the world who are living in absolutely deplorable situations? Do they not deserve a chance to live a good life? Is it okay to leave them out of the equation because they’re not Americans? (Frankly, I think there are plenty of children in the U.S. who are also living in deplorable situations, with little hope for their future—and I don’t see too many anti-abortion activists reaching out a meaningful helping hand to them…but that’s another story).

The point I’m trying to make—and perhaps I’m just being naïve here—is that until we acknowledge our role as fellow citizens in this "global village" of ours, we are destined to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again—in the name of nationalism, religion, or whatever. So long as "have" and "have-not" distinctions exist, there will always be people looking for a better life for themselves and their children, whether here, in Europe, Australia, or elsewhere. How many suffocation deaths of people crammed into trucks and shipping containers will it take before we accept the reality of the situation? Until we acknowledge that people are going to do whatever they can to improve their condition—legal or not, and often at great physical, emotional, and financial risk—we’re never going to get very far in terms of an immigration scheme that works well.

I certainly don’t have the solution—I doubt if any one person does. And no, I’m not in favor of simply throwing open our borders. But I do think we should acknowledge the legitimacy of the argument that just because someone didn’t follow the rules when they came to the United States, doesn’t mean they are any less-deserving of the benefits of a civilized society. Given a choice, many individuals would probably rather attain "the good life" in their own country--but that's just not always possible--and won't be until human society has progressed to the point where there are not so many glaring distinctions between the standard of living from one country to another. "We" really are the world (that song drives me crazy, but it’s an apt image), and these are our brothers and sisters we’re talking about. Now what are we "haves" going to do for our "have not" siblings?

Karmell Bowen